It is still today — a relief after two days of relentlessly battering winds. The Christmas arrangement in the front planter near the road twice took flight, which is why it is now stored in the barn. The deck chairs are overturned, and the chickens’ parallel bars were summarily dismantled. Checking the mailbox was an elevating experience, and any time at all on the highway overpass was too much. It’s as if the celestial eye determined that the world needed a thorough sweeping, which looking around is an uncomfortably accurate description. The streets of our little cosmic neighborhood have, in recent years, grown disgracefully littered — politically, relationally, morally and socially to name just a few of the pieces of trash that have us tousled and strewn. We can’t seem to stand one another, though if the popcorning allegations have any merit the most powerful among us apparently can’t keep our hands and other appendages off of their subordinates or casual acquaintances, while the weakest among us can’t seem to get a hand of any kind. We talk a good game about our religion and our noble priorities, but our actions dramatize a very different script. We snark and snarl and grope and grab. A little clean sweeping would do us good.
But whether the wind completed its work or, more likely, simply gave up trying, the winds calmed overnight and morning welcomed the sun into a crisp, cloudless and calm day. I filled the chicken feeders and replenished the water, then paused to relish the new day. It has yet to get bitterly cold, but even so the green patches still evident in the grass, asserting an impressive resilience, nonetheless surprise me. Passing deer, almost clandestine among the tall prairie grasses, pause to take my measure as I pass nearby. The towering cedars along the tree line, with their silvery-blue berries, hint at future possibilities, and the older “orchard” — the dozen or so fruit trees we planted the first few months after moving here — are poppled, like goose bumps, with buds.
Fruit — nascent and anticipatory, to be sure, but a portent of something nourishing and sweet for a change.
Those buds, alone, are almost enough to get me through these cold and prickly days. At least they set a good and hopeful example…
…of the fruitfulness the rest of us might find the time and space to resume.